He was 39 years old, and an Acting Lieutenant-Colonel in the North Irish Horse, seconded to 6th Battalion, Tank Corps during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Venture capital. On 21 August 1918 at Courcelles, France, during an attack, the infantry lost their bearings in dense fog and Lieutenant Colonel West at once collected any men he could find and led them to their objective, in face of heavy machine-gun fire. On 2 September at Vaulx-Vraucourt, he arrived at the front line when the enemy were delivering a local counter-attack. He fell riddled with bullets.
His magnificent bravery at a critical moment so inspired the infantry that the hostile attack was defeated.
He is buried at the Morey Abbey Military Cemetery, Mory.